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Venice To Film Star: Get Out And Take Your Cruise Ship With You, Grazie
It's nothing against Academy Award-winning Loren, a world-class actress with timeless star quality, but more with the ship, MSC Divina, that environmentalists would like to keep from entering the Venice lagoon.
"We can't believe that you want your name, which is a legend in Italy and the world, to be associated with a ship that contributes to the destruction of Venice, part of humanity's heritage," the appropriately titled No Big Ships Venice Committee explained in an open letter reported in Vanity Fair.
Considering the threat of accidents, air and water pollution, and an additional 2 million more visitors a year into a city already maxed out with tourists, Venice has a plan to keep cruise ships away.
The city does not want cruise ships in their lagoon at all. As a first step to keep them away, Venice wants to reroute ships arriving in the city so they stay farther from St. Mark's and other prominent monuments as a possible step toward keeping them out of the lagoon altogether.
The letter threatens, "Venice and its lagoon are both World Heritage sites and risk an environmental disaster every day because of the passage of these monsters of the sea."
Cruise ships, burning air-polluting diesel fuel, often enter the Venice lagoon so that passengers can visit the nearby Grand Canal.
To deal with the air pollution, the port is exploring a system that would let ships plug in to shore side power when docked, similar to how ships plug in to U.S. West coast ports, allowing them to turn off their engines. Like U.S. systems, a green shore side power system will be costly and seems to have stalled for that reason.
"The city is a very fragile city. This is a city that comes to us from the Middle Ages," Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO's assistant director-general for culture told the AP. "It is not designed for having that kind of traffic. It is designed to have ships, and we will always have ships around Venice, but not these kind of ships."
[Flickr photo by pynomoscato]